REVIEW: The Chronicle of Atom and Luna, Mercury Theatre ✭✭✭✭

Paul T Davies reviews The Chronicle of Atom and Luna at the Mercury Theatre Colchester.

Atom and Luna review
Photo: Luke Witcomb

The Chronicle of Atom and Luna.
Mercury Theatre, Colchester.
19 November 2022
4 Stars
Mercury Theatre Website

Deep in the forest, eleven-year-old twins Atom (Farrell Cox) and Luna (Becca Bindang) live in a glass palace, watched over by the all-seeing glass ball, a kind of fairy tale Big Brother, and live by a set of oppressive rules from their hard-hearted mother. When she takes off, leaving the siblings to fend for themselves, hunger and curiosity drive them into the arms first of the strange, childlike Iffley Sney (Alex Scott Fairley) and then on a daring journey into the depths of the forbidden forest to seek help from Old Mother Redbeard (Fran Burgoyne). The first thing that greets your eye is Bek Palmer’s beautiful set, curving away from us and rising, a beautiful woodland landscape. It welcomes the audience into a space that can be filled with adventure, and the cast are skilled at the art of storytelling.

Atom and Luna review
Photo: Luke Witcomb

Playing the twins, Cox and Bindang quickly engage the young people in the audience and there is an urgent quality to their tale. Sibling rivalry is played very well, (perhaps there could have been a tad more), and the script by Murray Lachlan Young manages the perfect balance of wonder and threat. Alex Scott Fairley is a delight as Iffley Sney, and Old Mother Redbeard is beautifully played by Burgoyne, maternal and mystic with her gentle voice filling the space with wonder. The twins have to bring two halves of an acorn together to heal the forest, (and the world), and the environmental message is clear but not didactic.

The script, beautifully poetic and with a clear quest narrative, is a tad long, though I have to admit that the young people in the audience remained engaged, and the direction occasionally becomes a bit static, characters often stare out front describing events, it is very much more alive when the children can’t keep still. However, the play’s message is important and clear, we do need to start listening to nature and responding quickly, and one of the stars of the show is the puppetry, particularly the hare and the wolf, who are charming and slightly disarming in the right measure.


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